We all know the downsides; those aches and pains, that unattractive slouch, and that general sluggish feeling, but did you know that poor posture can also put you at risk of further injury?
So, if you think you might be spending a few too many hours at your desk (hint: you probably are) now may be time to get moving and try our best exercises for posture improvement. ASAP.
No couch potato!
Aside from improving your physical appearance, having good posture has a number of other benefits too––improved flexibility, reduced muscle tension, an overall fitness boost and, of course, you’ll be able to stand taller, so no need for those achy high heels.
But, why do we need to exercise to improve our posture? Before we dive into the best exercises for good posture, let’s learn about what makes it so bad.
Weighing in at 10-12 lbs (4.5-5.0 kg) your head is a pretty weighty piece of kit. When you stand straight it’s perfectly balanced, but once you start to bend, say to look at a phone for example, then physics kicks in and exerts an enormous amount of pressure on your spine.
Add that to all the sitting you do at work (on average 8 hours a day) and at home (in general an additional 2-3hours), and you got a problem.
Practically perfect ways of how to improve poor posture
It might take a while before you have the grace of Mary Poppins, but that’s no reason not to aim for practical perfection with these posture correction exercises and poses to try at your desk or at home:
At your desk
With the majority of our days spent sitting, it’s no wonder we are suffering. These three stretches for better posture will help you get the most from your working day, and won’t cause too much embarrassment––heck, we bet your colleagues will even join you!
1. Shoulder roll
One of the best exercises for good posture and releasing stress from your shoulders too. When you’re hunched forward for an extended period of time, your muscles can become accustomed to the pose, and take it as the new normal. This is bad, and it puts undue pressure on your upper back and shoulders.
Relieve that built up tension by sitting up straight, keeping your arms by your sides (straight if you’re standing, bent if sitting) and roll your shoulders forwards and backwards.
2. Rubber neck
A lot of your spinal tension can form in your head, and as we already know, the head is pretty heavy. To keep it supple and reduce the risk of strain use this stretching exercise to improve your posture.
First, with your back straight, look up. Feel that strain on your neck for 3-4 seconds before looking down, with your chin right towards your chest, again hold for 3-4 seconds. Next, it’s time to look left, then right and of course hold.
3. Uncross your legs
Ok, we know this one isn’t so much an exercise, but sitting with your legs crossed all the time puts a lot of pressure on your lower back and spine, making your posture even worse.
So, it’s high time to uncross those pins and sit like the queen you are.
Now that you’ve got a little privacy, it’s time for some more intense exercises for good posture. You’ll need a yoga mat, a wall, and a little bit of flexibility to pull this off.
4. Chest opener
Suffering from a pain in your upper back that you can’t quite get rid of? This one is for you.
Stand on your yoga mat with your legs at slightly wider than shoulder’s width apart. Clasp your hands together behind your back and pull your shoulders backwards, you should feel the stretch.
If you need a little bit more, bend forward as you stretch for that extra pull.
5. Cat-cow pose
A classic yoga move packed with merit, this should be your morning (or anytime) go to for keeping your spine in check.
Grab your mat and kneel on it with your hands directly below your elbows, and knees below your hips. Next, move into the cow pose by taking a deep breath in; dropping stomach and raising your head to the sky. Breath out and lower your head, while raising your back into the form of a hissing cat.
6. Child’s pose
Another classic that brings us back to our childhoods. A good stretching exercise to improve posture, Child’s pose extends the spine and draws out the tension.
Kneel on your mat with your hands on your lap and feet tucked under your bottom. Gently slide forward, placing your hands stretched out in front of you until your spine is in alignment. Hold for five breaths, release and repeat.
7. Toe-touching forward bend
You don’t have to be a contortionist to try this one, each time you practice you’ll only get better and better.
For this forward bend, first, start by standing up straight. Lift both arms above your head, bend and place each hand on the opposite elbow. Now, for the tricky part. Lean your body forward as far as it’ll go. Hold, release and repeat. With a little patience, soon you’ll be a toe-touching pro.